To get back on the trail this morning, I tried to find a dirt road marked on the USGS map. It looked like the road by the church went up the hill and met a track which intersected with the PCT and would skip about 3 miles plus the 2 mile road walk. I looked around by the top of the road but where other roads were marked on the map in reality they were all private property and it didn’t look like roads continued at all beyond the driveways. I backtracked, and met Armstrong heading out. I gave him the intel on the non-existent dirt road and we walked the 2 miles down the highway instead.
The first 7 trail miles were straight uphill. The first few were compacted dirt paths through the forest, switchbacked and unrelenting but just fine as far as trail goes. I got a bit more grumpy in the middle 2-3 miles which were rocky (did I mention I loathe rocky trails?) and to add insult to very literal injury the bushes were so overgrown that I couldn’t see where I was putting my feet. In addition to stumbling all over the rocks, my legs got ripped to shreds by spiky shrubbery. The view upwards to the Sierra Buttes, though, was enough to keep me going.
I did find the other end of dirt road I was trying to find this morning, but it was heavily overgrown and in full sun so I’m not convinced it would have been better despite cutting off a few miles. Plus I walked through mile 1,200 going on the actual trail. I’m not counting any more though. No one builds markers for 100 mile intervals any more. It’s every 4 days or so. Maybe 250 miles?
I saw Van Gogh at the first water which was nice as I haven’t seen him in a while, and we leapfrogged for the early part of the afternoon.
Later on, I heard the sound of thunder in the distance, and shortly afterwards felt the first spots of rain. I put on my rain jacket and waterproofed various things inside my pack like the groundsheet and my sweater with the rain pants which I wasn’t going to wear with my shorts. Within minutes the storm was on top of me, and I spent 20 minutes huddled under some trees squeaking. I eventually gave myself a talking to and forced myself to walk on. I got drenched of course, but the sun came out after an hour or so, and I began to dry out. I abandoned the day at the A-Tree spring despite thinking that a few more miles might allow my shoes to dry out. Armstrong was already there and Rock City showed up shortly afterwards. He built a fire and I dried my gloves and socks, melting the fabric on the top of one sock and one finger of one glove in the process. I wonder if Darn Tough will still take them back singed? The other of the pair has a hole in and their returns policy definitely covers holes…
Miles: 22 + 2
Camping: Mile 1220, the A-Tree